Commerce Extends Huawei Exemption From Tech Supply Ban

Turns out the reporting was correct and the Trump Administration is extending the license allowing U.S. companies to supply tech to Chinese telecom Huawei, which has been branded by security agencies and the Trump Administration itself as a national security threat.

The Administration had already given Huawei a 90-day extension, and will now give it another 90 days.

The President over the weekend responded to a question from a reporter about whether the license would be extended by saying, according to the White House transcript: "No. That was reported. And, actually, it's the opposite. Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all. And it was sort of reported, I think the opposite, today -- I was surprised -- that we are open to doing business. We're actually open not to doing business with them. So I don't know who gave the report."

But it was not so "opposite" after all.

The Department of Commerce, which put Huawei on the Entity List of companies U.S. suppliers could not supply, announced early Monday (Aug. 19) that it was indeed, going to extend the Temporary General License that authorizes " specific, limited engagements in transactions involving the export, reexport, and transfer of items – under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) – to Huawei and its non-U.S. affiliates which are subject to the Entity List."

“As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Commerce suggested that was for the sake of consumers, who would need more time to "transition away from Huawei equipment."

Commerce led its announcement with the fact that it has added "dozens" of new Huawei affiliates to that Entity List.

Commerce pointed out that Huawei was added to the list in the first place because Commerce had concluded that "the company is engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, including alleged violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA by providing prohibited financial services to Iran, and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation of those alleged violations of U.S. sanctions, among other illicit activities."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.